BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Social media was agog on Monday night after popular Nigerian rapper, Sodiq Yusuf, popularly known as CDQ called out Burna Boy for allegedly disrespecting former Super Eagles forward, Obafemi Martins.
CDQ took to his official Twitter page on Monday night to express his anger towards the ‘Ye’ coroner, Burna Boy.
He said, “I still can’t phantom this an artist just disrespected Obagoal on thinking he’s now bigger n say e don get mouth pass Obafemi Martins and I imagine how he was able to go back home and sleep comfortably without conscience in this same Lagos igbagbè manshe awa eda ooo,” CDQ wrote in Pidgin English.
“Burna for the first time I’m disappointed in u!!!!! U and ur boys need to go apologize to Obagoal now! No let dem dey deceive u wit ur village title say African giant com dey disrespect ObaEar Eko lonpe bi. Obafemi Martins is not anybody’s mate Extraterrestrial alien if we dey cry make we dey see.”
“U don’t disrespect anyone in my circle and I look d other way; no way,” (sic) he added.
CDQ however urged him to apologise to the former Inter Milan forward.
As of the time of this report, Burna Boy and Obafemi Martins are yet to react to CDQ’s claim.
By Helen Oji/ GUARDIAN.NG
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, faulted the prohibition of cryptocurrencies in the country, saying it should rather be regulated.
Speaking at a one-day Special Summit on the Economy organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with Bankers Committee in Lagos, the vice president said there was need for regulators to create knowledge-based regulations that would help maximise the strengths and opportunities associated with block chain technology and also minimise the risks and threats associated with it.
According to him, Nigeria needs to prepare for the shift to block chain technology and embrace technology for the nation’s developmental process.
“We must move Nigeria digital economy into global drive. Nigeria ICT is making giant strides. We have a lot; we must build softwares. As a nation, we have to embrace technology for our developmental processes,” he said.
Stakeholders at the summit also noted that for the country’s economy to record sustainable growth and reduce exposure to volatility in commodity prices, there was need to focus more on the provision of accommodative monetary policy measures that would enable faster recovery of the economy through improved flow of credit to households and businesses in key sectors of the economy, especially agriculture, ICT and manufacturing.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said while accommodative monetary policy measures that would support growth remain its priorities for 2021, the apex bank would continue to pay attention to trends in inflation because price stability was critical to guiding savings and investment decisions by households and businesses.
According to him, the agricultural sector was a key driver in taking the Nigerian economy away from negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2020, stressing the need to sustain measures aimed at increasing productivity of the sector and increase production of locally made goods in the country.
In addition, he stressed the need for government to seek alternative ways of funding infrastructure to generate more revenue and enhance sustained growth, noting that a well-built infrastructure system could have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country.
To this effect, he said the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (InfraCorp), a vehicle that would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment, would become fully operational by the second quarter of 2021.
He said the company, Infra-Co, would be one of the top infrastructure finance entities in Africa and would be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.
He added that Infra-Co would operate as a public-private partnership and would be initially funded by the CBN, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and the Africa Finance Corporation.
According to him, it would focus on developing public assets and reconstruction as well as new roads, rail, power and other key infrastructure sector projects.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the banking sector plays a critical role in terms of reforms to reposition the country to effectively impact on different sectors of the economy to generate more revenue.
She, however, noted that the impact of the banking system on the rest of the economy depends on how it mobilises savings, allocates the savings, monitors the use of the funds by firms and individuals, pools and diversifies risk, including liquidity risk and eases the exchange of goods and services.
“When the banking system performs well, it tends to promote growth and expand economic opportunities. Economic growth is about enhancing the productive capacity of an economy.
“This is achieved by using available resources to reduce risks, remove impediments which otherwise could increase costs of doing business and hinder investment,” she said.
BY PM NEWS:
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met with the new Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa behind ‘closed door’ at the State House, Abuja.
Bawa was screened and confirmed by the Senate on Monday as EFCC chairman.
He arrived Abuja on Friday afternoon for a meeting with Buhari.
The new EFCC boss immediately entered into a ‘closed door’ meeting with the president, which might not be unconnected with strengthening the anti-corruption war.
During his screening by the Senate on Wednesday, Bawa stated his vision for the EFCC, promising to lead the EFCC by example and cut down discretion in the conduct of its affairs through institutionalizing a Standard Operating Procedure.
“What I envisage the EFCC to do is to ensure that we work on our own Standard Operational Procedure, to improve on our Standard Operational Procedures so much so that all that is expected of us is written down somewhere in a document to curtail the use of discretion from the office of the Executive Chairman down to the ordinary investigator.
“We are looking forward to an EFCC whereby I as the Executive Chairman if I give an instruction to a junior officer, he will look at my face and say, Sir I understand your instruction but I will not be able to do it because of so and so Section governing the rules and regulations of the EFCC”, he said.
He also stated that he was interested in establishing synergy with other law enforcement organizations, both nationally and internationally, and aggressively pursue the repatriation of seized assets.
A Nigerian Uche Raymond Okoye, based in Guyana, has been slammed 11 counts of fraud, several local papers reported today.
Okoye, also known as Uche Parker, was accused by the Guyana police as being part of an international criminal organisation that has scammed unsuspecting Guyanese victims out of millions.
Okoye, who is now in prison, appeared virtually Wednesday at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court where Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan read ten indictable charges to him.
It is alleged that on ten occasions between October 15 and November 16, 2020, at Georgetown, Okoye obtained monies from a woman, Surujdai Balkaran, totalling $6,059,900, by falsely claiming that he was in possession of a package intended for her.
And on November 16, 2020, he obtained $50,000 from another woman, Ms Monroe, by also falsely claiming that he was in possession of a package intended for her.
The women were told that the monies were needed to receive the packages.
While he pleaded guilty to some of the counts, he pleaded not guilty to the charge that he scammed Ms.Monroe.
He was further remanded until March 17.
Okoye is currently on remand for an ongoing matter before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly for four other matters of similar offences.
On 24 November 2020, he was charged with running a criminal scheme in Guyana and swindling four Guyanese of millions of dollars.
He was also accused of entering Guyana, illegally.
Okoye is suspected to be part of a criminal network involving Nigerians who collaborate with other associates and solicit cash from their victims by promising high valued merchandise to be delivered following the payment of a charge or fee amounting to millions.
The criminal network which has been ongoing for the past six months in Guyana, has links to the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Paraguay and the United States of America among other countries, according to Special Organised Crime Unit[ SOCU] of Guyana.
By Abankula/ PM NEWS
Tiger Woods suffered multiple leg injuries from his lone horror car crash today in Los Angeles California.
His agent Mark Steinberg told Golf Digest that Woods “is currently in surgery”.
Woods, 45, was in California for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV after serving as host for the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational over the weekend.
The shoot involved Woods giving on-course lessons to a number of celebrities, but he mostly provided instruction and hit a few putts.
He was in good spirits on Monday but did not arrive to the course for the second day of shooting.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriffs, Wood was the sole occupant of the car, when it rolled over on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes.
The accident occurred at 7.12 a.m Los Angeles time.
The 45 year-old golfer had to be cut out of the wreck by fire crews before Woods was transferred to hospital by paramedics.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga/ PM NEWS
Critic, Femi Fani-Kayode has replied Nigerians who said he is broke and wanted to seek refuge in the All Progressives Congress, APC, saying that he has 55 domestic staff in his house alone and pays them regularly.
He said he is not broke as being championed by his haters.
Fani-Kayode, in an article on his blog said: “You insult me and say I am broke because I had talks with two APC Governors.
“Do you know that I spend more on my monthly salary bill in one month than some of these people that are claiming I am broke earn in 5 or 10 years?
“I have 55 domestic staff in my house alone. Not one of them gets below 70,000 naira per month which is higher than the national minimum wage.
“I do not owe salaries and I feed each of them three square meals every day. I do all this just to help them and to ensure they can look after and feed their families. Does that sound like a broke man to you?
“That is my little contribution to the welfare of our people because I certainly do not need so many staff. I employ them just to keep them off the unemployment line,” he said.
He asked further: “Apart from that do you know how many people I give scholarships to and how many people’s children I feed and educate? Do you know how many other families I am responsible for in terms of day to day living?
“The Bible says be your brothers keeper and I do these things unto the Lord. I do them and I will never stop even when my good is repaid with evil.
“The Lord has always provided for me and given me the fat of the land. He has always caused me to be a blessing to others though I do not make noise about it.”
Fani-Kayode said for the last 60 years of his life, God has been good to him as He caused him to excel, prosper and flourish and that from beginning to end, He has always been with him.
“You say I make money through politics, meanwhile I left public office in 2007 which is 13 years ago! Does that make sense to you? In any case is politics my only source of income in the world?
“Am I your conventional politician who craves for elective office? Do I even attend their meetings? I have been in this game since 1990! Do you know that? I have been making my contributions to current affairs, political discourse and politics for the last 31 years which is long before most of today’s Governors or Ministers even knew the meaning of the word.
“And it was always a struggle which involved sacrifice. Where were my detractors when I was in NADECO and fought against military rule? The records are there and so are the essays and some of the people I worked with.
“Where were they when we set up September Club in 1989 and some of the nations greatest leaders and elder statesmen and top politicians over the last 30 years, including Presidents, Governors, Ministers and legislators across party lines, were members.
“Where were they in the days of NRC, SDP and Choice ’92 when politics was real, when the greats held sway and when men honored their word. Where were they when we risked all for MKO Abiola’s stolen mandate and June 12th and even had to go into exile for years because of it?
Where were they when we stood against the annulment of June 12th and fought against the Government of General Sani Abacha?” He asked.
BY MICHAEL BAMIDLE/ GUARDIAN.NG
Three influential #EndSARS campaigners Feyikemi ‘FK’ Abudu, Odunayo Eweniyi and Damilola Odufuwa have been included in TIME magazine’s Next 100 list as emerging leaders who are shaping the future.
The Time100 Next list which was released today is an annual list that serves as an extension to the Time100 list. The Time100 Next aims to highlight “the 100 individuals who are shaping the future of their fields and defining the next generation of leadership in business, entertainment, health and science, sports, activism, and more.”
TIME wrote that the individuals on this year’s list provide “clear-eyed hope” amid a global pandemic, deepening inequality, systemic injustice and existential questions about truth, democracy and the planet itself. According to Dan Macsai, editorial director of the TIME100, “Everyone on this list is poised to make history. And in fact, many already have.”
The trio raised nearly N150 million during the #EndSARS protests to facilitate medical assistance, legal aid, food for protesters. Their entry was written by Suyin Haynes, a TIME’s senior reporter covering gender and culture.
“When protests calling for an end to police brutality and the disbandment of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) erupted across the country in fall 2020, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi, founders of the Feminist Coalition, sprang into action. Drawing on their expertise in tech, they raised donations in Bitcoin to offer protesters medical assistance, legal aid and mental-health support,” Haynes wrote.
Haynes continued: “Simultaneously, Feyikemi “FK” Abudu acted quickly, raising funds from both Nigeria and the diaspora to organize food and security arrangements for protesters on the ground. Abudu later joined forces with the Feminist Coalition, and the organization, comprising 13 founding members, raised more than $387,000 in two weeks. As their fight continues—in mid-October, the government pledged to implement police reform, but efforts to suppress dissent, including by arresting demonstrators, are ongoing—the coalition’s leaders hope their crucial role in the protests demonstrates the importance of having women in leadership.”
Nigerian Obinawanne Okeke has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for involvement in a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme that caused approximately $11 million in known losses to his victims.
“Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Today’s sentence further demonstrates EDVA’s and FBI’s worldwide reach in vigorously pursuing justice on behalf of American victims and others and holding international cybercriminals accountable, no matter where they commit their crimes.”
According to court documents, Obinwanne Okeke, 33, operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group based in Nigeria and elsewhere.
From approximately 2015 to 2019, Okeke and others engaged in a conspiracy to conduct various computer-based frauds.
The conspirators obtained and compiled the credentials of hundreds of victims, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia.
As part of the scheme, Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.
In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials.
The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices.
Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
“The FBI will not allow cyber criminals free reign in the digital world to prey on U.S. companies,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.
“This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cyber criminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable.”
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
Michael Adeshina/ PM NEWS
Adamu Garba, a former presidential aspirant and staunch supporter of Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, seems to be reviewing his loyalty to the President.
Garba had yesterday slammed the government and defended the arrested #OccupyLekki protesters, saying they have the right to seek justice for all victims of the October 20, 2020 incident which eyewitnesses claimed security forces opened fire on #EndSARS protesters.
And today, the former presidential aspirant is wondering if President Muhammadu Buhari is “leading Nigeria or catching cruise with our trust.”
According to Garba, the president ought to have spoken to the nation to douse the ethnic tensions arising from all parts of the country.
In a statement released via his verified Twitter account, Adamu Garba said:
“Sometimes I wonder, I genuinely wonder whether President @MBuhari is leading Nigeria or catching cruise with our trust
“How can the country be in tension, killings all over the places, yet no categorical statement from the President?
“Why the silence at this very critical moment?
“Why must we always talk, ask and insist before we can hear from this President?
“The matter at hand, from North to South is on the verge of exacerbating ethnic tensions. Blames and counter blames, accusations and counter-accusations, yet the silence from the President?
“Why is that?”
Adamu Garba added that President Buhari must take control of the situation to avoid a disaster.
He said: “The President is the only, truly and rightful legitimacy to restore order, assured of safety & security for the citizenry in times of tensions like this
“The President must be in control of the narrative all over the media by his appearances, assuring statements
“Why the absence?
“There is no region, tribe or religion, no matter the attachment or loyalty to the President, that will be happy with the present situation where everyone is left to advance their individual narrative to the complete absence of the Commander in Chief’s. None!
“This is not good.
“The President should have to address the media, take over the headlines with assuring statements. Reach-out to the victims directly.
“At this juncture, absence Presence means absence of leadership.
“It is very critical at this point, that no vacuum is created for a bad press narrative.”
Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State on Friday drew flak from different parts of the country after defending the right of herders to go about with AK 47.
Leading the charge was his fellow governor, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, who challenged Mohammed to cite the law that allows herders to carry assault guns.
“They (herders) have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them,” the Bauchi State governor had said on Thursday while reacting to recent comments and actions against suspected criminal herders in parts of the country.
Mohammed had added: “It is not his (herder’s) fault, it is the fault of the government and the people; you don’t criminalise all of them, because in every tribe, there are criminals. You should be very sensitive. We have to be careful.”
He berated his colleagues in the South-West and South-East for the manner in which they are handling the herders’ crisis and claimed they are not accommodating people from other ethnic groups.
“You have seen what our colleagues in the South-West are doing and some of them in South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong.”
Hitting back at Mohammed on Friday, Governor Ortom wondered how much the Bauchi governor knew about alleged atrocities perpetrated in parts of the country by herders.
Ortom in a statement said while he would not want to join issues with his counterpart, he found it shocking that a colleague who took the oath of office as he also did, to protect and preserve the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same constitution by calling for lawlessness.
According to Ortom, the most shocking part of Governor Bala Mohammed’s statement was where he defended herdsmen for bearing arms saying ”they have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them”.
The Benue governor questioned the section of the law the Bauchi governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
He said: “It was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen and therefore does not need a visa to come to Nigeria, and that the forests belong to herdsmen.”
In reference to Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment that there are Benue people who are freely doing business in Bauchi and elsewhere, Ortom stated that Benue indigenes in Bauchi have been law-abiding and do not carry arms to attack their hosts, noting that Fulani, as well as many other Nigerians residing in Benue who respect laws of the land, also live peacefully with their hosts.
Ortom insisted that his administration has not driven away any law-abiding Nigerian in Benue State.
According to the governor, it is unfortunate that those who are trusted with the people’s mandate and should ordinarily uphold truth and justice have chosen to mislead the country.
He stressed the need for leaders to be cautious and retrace their steps which are capable of leading the country to anarchy.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Senator Shehu Sani.
Sani, in a short response, said Bala Mohammed’s comment was nothing short of baptising infamy.
“My Brother, Bauchi Governor’s justification for AK47 amounts to baptizing infamy,” he tweeted.
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, (PANDEF), labeled Bala Muhammed’s statement reckless, careless and an invitation to anarchy.
“It is sad that the Bauchi State governor, Bala Muhammed, would make that kind of statement. Invariably, what he is saying is that every business person in Nigeria should carry AK 47. That is what he is saying and that is a call for anarchy,” National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Ken Robinson in a chat with our correspondent yesterday.
He added: “That is a call for total collapse of governance in the country. It is an irresponsible statement from a governor that some of us hold in high esteem. It is unfortunate that he is saying that.
“Instead of that kind of statement, what we of expect governor Bala is to caution the herdsmen to respect the law and the people on whose lands they do business instead of forcefully occupying lands, terrorising innocent citizens and molesting women.
“As long as those in authority in the North continue to make this kind of statements, the herders’ crisis will continue to aggravate and embolden these people to do the kind of criminal activities that they are doing.
“Why are they not doing that in Bauchi State? Why are they doing it in southern Nigeria? Those are the questions we should ask the governor. It is very unfortunate and it is a pity that Governor Bala Muhammed would make that kind of reckless and careless statement. It is sad and unfortunate.”
A security expert, Mr. Jackson Lekan Ojo, said he was disturbed that a state governor could make that kind of statement.
“AK-47 is not a soft weapon, it is a sophisticated weapon and it cannot be registered for anybody for gaming or for personal protection.
“It is only the government security personnel alone that are allowed by law to use it.
“And if you say because of the hazard of their business then the okada riders, the keke riders, the taxi drivers too should carry AK-47. Armed robbers too attack them and take their keke or bike.
“Every other person in the market too should carry an AK-47 because there is no business without hazard and so it is disturbing.
“The farmers in their farmlands should carry AK-47 because of the herdsmen that enter their farmlands and ravage them.
“The classroom teachers should carry AK-47 because we have seen several times the bandits will go to school and carry away all the children. Invariably, everybody in Nigeria should carry an AK-47 to protect their businesses.
“To me such a thing from a governor is saddening and a threat to national security.”
The Oluwo of Iwo, Osun State, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, said: “Anybody that is fueling war or crisis in Nigeria in any part of Nigeria should be taken by the DSS and arrested. We don’t want war, we want peace.
“Only security agents are allowed by law to carry guns. We don’t want anything to escalate something that will make people defend themselves.
“If people are pushed too much, they would have to defend themselves with anything they get their hands on. I believe that was what the governor was talking about.
“What I’m saying is anybody, anywhere in Nigeria—North, West, South, East, if anybody fuels war, get him arrested.
“They don’t know what war is. War is a state of anarchy where there will be no family, no food. People will be starved to death.
“We should try to live in peace. That was why I visited the Fulani. I told them that they have to come to the city, we have to educate them, and we have to educate their children, they have to know modern ranching.
“If there is war, everybody will be affected. Don’t let anybody fuel war. There must be no war in Nigeria.
“I think what the governor was saying is that the herders should be able to defend themselves.
“AK-47 is an assault rifle that is for war. It is only in Nigeria people carry assault rifles all about.
Everybody should have the right to live anywhere in Nigeria, if somebody is a criminal, get him arrested.
The Director general of Amotekun in Osun State, Mr. Amitolu Shittu, said: “A statesman should not make such a statement that is volatile, that can destroy the peace of and harmony of the people of Nigeria.
“The oneness of Nigeria has been eroded by this kind of leader that is making a volatile statement and he needs to be cautioned by the Presidency
“If the house of assembly is a toothless bull dog that cannot bite, that cannot stop the excesses of their governor, that encourages their governor to support criminals and one ethnic group, the President should advise him to resign.
“If the house of assembly does not have the courage to tell the governor to withdraw the statement or resign, the President can tell him to do so. We advise Mr. President to simply advise him to resign.”
The Director of Legal Affairs, Yoruba Koya Leadership & Training Foundation (YKL&TF), Mr.Tayo Douglas said the governor “never meant well with the statement credited to him.
“I believe the Governor is aware that there’s a law in the country, that is, the Nigerian Firearms Act (1990) which provides that no person shall have in his possession or under his control any firearm or ammunition except such person has a license from the President or from the Inspector General of Police.
“Furthermore the press release made by the then Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris, on the 21st February, 2018 directed the Commissioners of Police of all the State Commands of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and their Supervising Assistant Inspectors General of Police of the Twelve Zonal Commands in the Country; to immediately commence simultaneously throughout the Country, the disarmament and recovery of prohibited firearms, ammunition and weapons in the possession of all suspected Militias, Bandits, vigilante groups, Neighbourhood watch and other groups or Individual(s) or bodies bearing prohibited firearms and ammunition, illegal weapons and lethal devices whether locally fabricated, modified or otherwise fashioned to kill or that can cause harm or injury to persons or that can cause panic, fear, apprehension, security breach, breach of peace or that can cause threat to law and order anywhere in the country.
“The question to now ask the governor of Bauchi State is: under whose watch or licence are these killer herdsmen carrying about with them the prohibited ammunition?
“Secondly, the governor should be bold enough to tell the whole world why he believes the herdsmen are above the law of the land or why their flagrant disobedience of the law should be condoned. The problem with some of our leaders is that they don’t care if this country can be set ablaze with all their unguarded utterances.”
A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain in Lagos State, Sumbo Onitiri, said if carrying of AK47 is good for herders, it should be good for all Nigerians to also carry guns.
“We are all equal; no one is above the law.
“Let everybody be licensed to carry AK-47, so that we can all defend ourselves, nobody will come and take you for granted, nobody will take you for a cow.
“A cow does not have more rights than a Nigerian. A cow’s life is not more valuable than a Nigerian life.”
Former Lagos Governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, is dead.
He died on Thursday morning in Lagos at 91.
He was a former journalist who became governor of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983.
He later emerged Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime (1993–98).
As Nigeria shuts its doors, billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc drove Bitcoin toward mainstream acceptance on Monday after its disclosure it had purchased $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency.
Musk said the company would soon accept it as a form of payment.
The announcements, buried deep in Tesla’s 2020 annual report, drove a 10% surge in the world’s most widely-held cryptocurrency.
Investors anticipated other companies will soon join a list of firms that invest in or hold bitcoin including BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, and payments companies Square and PayPal.
Nigeria’s Central Bank last week warned banks to steer clear of the digital currency.
Musk has upended Wall Street over the last year and briefly became the world’s richest person as shares of Tesla surged nearly 500% to become the fifth most-valuable U.S. company, leaving other companies and investors eager to follow in his wake.
“If any lesser mortals had made the decision to put part of their balance sheet in Bitcoin, I don’t think it would have been taken seriously,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York.
“But when the richest man in the world does it, everyone has to take a second look.”
The news sparked heavy trading in cryptocurrencies and caused exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, Binance to experience technical issues, according to Coindesk here.
A well-known supporter of cryptocurrencies, Musk has weighed in regularly on the past month’s frenzy in retail investment, also driving up prices of the meme-based digital currency dogecoin and shares of U.S. video game chain GameStop.
He said a week ago that bitcoin was “on the verge” of being more widely accepted among investors, and in December asked if it was possible to do large transactions in the currency.
In late January, Musk changed the bio of his Twitter account, which has 46 million followers, to include #bitcoin.
Tesla said in a filing the decision was part of its broad investment policy as a company and was aimed at diversifying and maximizing its returns on cash, including holding gold.
The report said it ended 2020 with $19.38 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
Gold jumped more than 1% Monday while ethereum, another cryptocurrency, surged to a record high.
LONG-TERM STORE OF VALUE?
Central banks remain skeptical of digital currencies, but analysts say the more real world uses appear for bitcoin, the more attractive it will prove as a long-term store of value.
Bitcoin surged more than 10% to a record high of $43,625 after Tesla’s disclosure.
“The argument for bitcoin is evolving. It used to be negative (reasons to buy) but suddenly there are positive reasons, and that’s why you see bitcoin at (new highs),” Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor of Allianz, told CNBC.
Tesla is the latest company to add bitcoin to its corporate treasury, following similar moves by Square, the payments company led by Twitter Inc chief Jack Dorsey and U.S. software firm MicroStrategy Inc.
PayPal said in October that it would allow customers to buy, sell and hold bitcoin and other virtual coins using its online wallets. It remains to be seen whether bitcoin will see greater adoption as a form of payment, something that it has traditionally struggled to achieve.
“If this becomes a trend in corporate treasuries the downside of staying on the sidelines will only become costlier over time,” said Maya Zehavi, a blockchain consultant.
Musk has also endorsed other cryptocurrencies. He gave dogecoin, the coin based on a popular internet meme, a shoutout on Twitter last week, sending its price to record highs over the weekend.
Dogecoin was created largely as a satirical critique of the 2013 crypto frenzy and is not taken as seriously as bitcoin or ethereum. It has almost doubled in value since Friday, hitting a record 8.71 cents, according to data on blockchain and cryptocurrency website Coindesk.